POP3 (Post Office Protocol), Advantages, Disadvantages

Must have used some sort of software “client” (such as Outlook) to access your email

To receive an email, this email client requires Post Office Protocol (POP3) and an SMTP configuration to send the email before the message can be downloaded from the server.

So by reading this blog today you will understand what is POP3.

History of POP

The first version of the Post Office Protocol was first published in a comment request in 1984 by the Internet Engineering Task Force as RFC 918.

Next, developers recognize the need to devise a simple and efficient way to receive email from email servers. After which instead of accessing the mailbox online, they have seen the benefits of offline reading.

In 1985, version 2 of the Post Office Protocol was published in RFC 937, which was replaced with version 3 in 1988 with the publication of RFC 1081.

POP3 was revised several times over the next 10 years before being published to the current specification as 1996 RFC 1939.

The POP network protocol underwent many improvements and refinements, but the developers of its POP maintained the core principle of a straightforward protocol, which consists of a three-stage process between email clients and servers during mail retrieval.

Its simplicity is what makes POP3 one of the most popular mail retrieval methods today.

What is POP

The Post Office Protocol is an Internet mailing network protocol used by local email software clients (User) to receive email from remote mail servers over a TCP/IP network protocol connection.

The first version of POP3 was created in 1984 (currently version 3), since then it has become one of the most popular network protocols and is used by every email client to this day.

Its popularity lies in the simplicity of configuring, operating, and maintaining the protocol.

Email servers hosted by Internet service providers also use POP to receive and capture emails from your customers. From time to time, this Customer will use the Email Client software to check and download any emails that have been made by them on the remote server.

Once a user has downloaded the email, they are usually removed from the email server, although some emails allow the user to specify whether the email should be copied or stored on the server for a period of time. Save it and keep it for like 14 days.

Email client users typically use the network protocol TCP port 110 to connect to a Post office protocol server.

If encrypted communication is supported on a POP server, users can choose to connect either by using the STLS command after the protocol initiation step or by using POP3S, which is used to connect to the email server on a TCP port 995. Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) can be used.

Applications that use POP

Because of its basic method of downloading and storing email, Post Office Protocol3 is compatible with any email program configured to host the protocol. Popular email programs such as Microsoft Outlook Express support POP3 natively.

In addition to basic programs, when the POP3 protocol is used to retrieve e-mails, this protocol is also used for programmatic backup and synchronization.

How does POP work?


When you check for a new e-mail, the client will be connected to the POP3 server. Email clients then provide a username and password to the server for authentication.

After connecting, when the user issues a series of text-based commands to retrieve all email messages. It then saves the messages and downloads them to your local system as a new email, deleting a copy of the server and disconnecting from the server.

By default, the email is deleted after it is retrieved from the server. As a result, all email messages are stored on your PC and it is not possible to access all those emails from any other PC from an email client.

You can do this by configuring the email client settings to leave a copy of the email on the server.

The POP protocol frees up mailbox space on the email server because emails and attachments are downloaded and deleted at the server-end whenever the email user checks for new mail.

One drawback of a POP3 mail account is that it is difficult for you to export mail if you decide to switch email programs or computer systems.

Advantages of POP

  • For email users, the email is downloaded to the computer itself. So that users can read their messages when they are offline.
  • Opening downloaded attachments is quick and easy because they are already downloaded.
  • It requires less storage as all the emails are stored on the local PC.
  • The storage capacity of email is limited by the size of your computer’s hard disk.
  • It is very popular, it is easy to configure and use.

Disadvantages of POP

  • Email cannot be accessed from another computer (unless configured to do so).
  • It can be difficult for a user to export a local mail folder.
  • Entire folders of emails can be corrupted, possibly causing you to lose an entire mailbox at once.
  • Email attachments can contain viruses that can cause great harm to your PC if they are opened and sometimes virus scanners are unable to detect them.


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